What do your ideal customers buy?

What do your ideal customers buy?
Photo by Yulia Matvienko / Unsplash

Your ideal customer's role and position in their org chart determines what they're used to buying.

End users, individual contributors, producers: these folks buy atomic tools, often
ending in -er/-or. Screen scrapers, form builders, query optimizers.

Managers, directors, VP's: these folks aren't doers. They buy things that make their people more effective: platforms, mostly; also, data or intelligence.

One failure mode in startup sales is approaching either of these levels of the org chart with something that's not shaped like the other things they buy: a VP Marketing that's used to buying platforms that includes dashboard / KPI screens, paginated lists of landing pages, contacts, and metrics isn't going to recognize a calculator, no matter how powerful it is. Meanwhile a content producer doesn't buy platforms. The mere thought is absurd to them: no budget for those kinds of things, and wow, team-wide adoption? Sorry, I just don't do that!

Of course, they won't say these things out loud. More likely they'll furrow their mental brow and move on: "This isn't for me!"

Does this mean you have to rebuild your thing? Maybe, but maybe not! Often this is just a verbal exercise: how do you describe it? Or superficial: what screens does it include? How are those labeled? What's the default screen they drop into when the product first loads? Cosmetically, does it look and feel like one of those things they buy, or is it ... a little weird?

Wrap your unique, specialized value in recognizable packaging.